Board of Zoning Appeals


  • Mr. Gary Leake, Chairman
  • Mr. William C. Gochenour, Vice Chairman
  • Mr. Jason Smith
  • Mr. Michael Ashley
  • Mr. Walt Morgan
  • Ms. Tiffany Cummins, Secretary

The Board of Zoning Appeals is made up of five members and authorized by the Circuit Court of Shenandoah County.


The Board of Zoning Appeals has the following powers and duties:

  • To hear and decide appeals from any order, requirement, decision, or determination made by an administrative officer and the administration or enforcement of zoning
  • To authorize upon appeal or original application in specific cases such variance as defined in the Code of Virginia from the terms of the zoning chapter as will not be contrary to public interest, when, owing to special conditions a literal enforcement of the provisions will result in unnecessary hardship; provided that the spirit of the zoning chapter shall be observed and substantial justice done
  • To hear and decide appeals from the decision of the zoning administrator. No such appeal shall be heard except after notice and hearing
  • To hear and decide applications for interpretation of the district map where there is an uncertainty as to the location of a district boundary. After notice to the owners of the property affected by any such question, and after public hearing with notice as required by the Code of Virginia, the board may interpret the map in such way as to carry out the intent and purpose of this chapter for the particular section or district in question
  • The board shall not have the power to change substantially the location of district boundary as established by ordinance

Appeals to the Board

An appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals may be taken by any person aggrieved or by any officer, department, board or bureau of the town affected by any decision of the zoning administration or from any order, requirement, decision, or determination, made by any other administrative officer and the administration or enforcement of the zoning chapter. Such appeals shall be taken in 30 days after the decision appealed from by filing with the zoning administrator, and with the board, a notice of appeal specifying the grounds thereof.

The zoning administrator shall transmit to the board all papers constituting the record upon which the action appealed was taken. An appeal shall stay all proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed from unless the zoning administrator certifies to the board that by reason of facts stated in the certificate, in his or her opinion, cause imminent peril to life or property in which case proceedings shall not be stayed, otherwise then by a restraining order granted by the board or by a Court of Record on application and on notice to the zoning administrator and for good cause shown.

Procedure on Appeal

The Board of Zoning Appeals shall fix a reasonable time for the hearing of an application (PDF) or appeal, give public notice thereof as well as due notice to the parties in interest and decide the same within 90 days of the filing of the application or appeal.

In exercising its powers, the board may reverse or affirm, wholly or partly, or may modify in order, requirement, decision, or determination appealed from. The concurring vote of a majority of the membership of the board shall be necessary to reverse any order, requirement, decision, or determination of an administrative officer or decide in favor of the applicant on any matter upon which it is required to pass under the ordinance or to effect any variance from the ordinance.

Additional Requirements

  • The board shall keep minutes of its proceedings and other official actions which shall be filed in the office of the board and shall be public records.
  • The chairman of the board, or in his or her absence, the acting chairperson may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses.
  • All hearings shall be advertised in accordance with the Code of Virginia.